LifeSkills' Corporate History
LifeSkills, Inc. is a private, nonprofit corporation that contracts with the Kentucky Department for Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Addiction Services for about 30% of its funding. The remainder of LifeSkills' revenues is generated through third party payers, industrial and other contracts, grants and local support. LifeSkills is governed by a 21-member, volunteer Board of Directors representing the Kentucky counties of Allen, Barren, Butler, Edmonson, Hart, Logan, Metcalfe, Monroe, Simpson, and Warren Counties.
"...the mentally ill and the mentally retarded need no longer be alien to our affections or beyond the help of our communities."
LifeSkills, Inc. traces its origin to 1966, when federal staffing grants established two community mental health agencies within what is now known as Kentucky Region IV, or the Barren River Area Development District in south central Kentucky. The Region VII Mammoth Cave Mental Health-Mental Retardation Board and the Region V Southern Kentucky Mental Health-Mental Retardation Board merged in 1971 to form the Barren River Regional MH-MR board, which was had offices in Glasgow and Bowling Green. LifeSkills principal office location is Bowling Green.
During the period from 1971 until the present time, the agency grew from a small organization that operated from a $100,000 budget and a handful of rented buildings to a major social service and economic force within the Region. In 2007 services were provided to over 11,000 people in service centers throughout the ten county region, in over 60 schools, and in many homes and businesses. Revenues exceed $22 million in 2007.
Recent years proved to be a time of continued expansion, growth, and improvements in the service delivery system. On July 1, 1989, the organization changed its corporate name to LifeSkills, Inc. All centers were renamed and the resulting media campaign and special events served to bring the new name and the corporation's accomplishments to the attention of the Region's communities.
LifeSkills continued to emphasize community involvement in the program planning and evaluation process. Since 1987, public forums have been held in each of the ten counties in order to solicit community input in program planning. Another large-scale development endeavor was the PL99-660 planning project that brought together consumers, advocates, professionals, and members of the community at-large. Resulting from the PL99-660 process was a community plan for delivering services to adults with severe mental illness and children with severe emotional problems. This planning process continues today. Consumer suggestions are used to modify the service delivery system, to evaluate consumer satisfaction, and to plan new services or programs. The corporation conducts key informant surveys to determine the service needs and priorities of referral sources. Key informants are also sent a survey to assess satisfaction with the LifeSkills service delivery system.
The growing needs of the corporation led to a number of facility purchases and building projects over our history. LifeSkills Industries in Bowling Green has seen three seperate expansions since it was first constructed. A HUD-financed, nine-bed community residence for persons with developmental disabilities was constructed in Logan County. A Community Development Block Grant enabled construction of two 12,000 sq. ft. LifeSkills Industries buildings located in Butler County and Logan County. Behavioral Health and Developmental Service centers have been purchased or constructed in Scottsville, Munfordville, Glasgow, Franklin, and Brownsville. In April 2008 the largest project to date was completed with several facilities, including the company headquaters, consolidated in a new 42,000 sq. ft. building in Bowling Green, Kentucky.
LifeSkills operates a 20-bed residential substance abuse treatment center, known as Park Place Recovery Center. A Regional Prevention Center was opened in 1992. Our programs provide a wide array of services to special populations within our communities. Supported employment programs were implemented to offer disabled workers new opportunities within their home communities. The NIMH funded a Consumer Crisis Response Grant that initiated Peer Support and Consumer Advocacy. Supported Housing was implemented. Children's services continued to expand with new in-school, intensive home-based, wraparound, after-school, and summer programs.
A Coordinated Health and Intervention Program proposed by the Kentucky Department for Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Addiction Services began in July, 1990. Early Intervention Services, available through this proposal, benefit infants and toddlers with special needs from birth to age two. The business community has responded to the need for mental health and substance abuse services in the work place by contracting with LifeSkills to provide Employee Effectiveness Program services.
In order to address the needs of its expanding caseload, LifeSkills continues a new system for providing psycho-educational training that offer a wider variety of services for mental health consumers. An internship program with area universities has been created, and students are working under the supervision of clinicians. There remains a shortage of qualified professionals within the area - notably in the area of psychiatry, physical therapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy, psychology, and social work. Recruitment efforts are hampered by static funding for existing services and demographic changes in the workforce pool.